LETTER: Enbridge supporters don’t pass ‘environmentalist’ smell test

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A quote in the “Line 3 supporters rally for pipe tour” article (Jan. 25 Enterprise) really got my full attention: “We are all environmentalists, and that is why we need to see this project completed.”

That quote took me back 35 years ago to my former life in Omaha. I distinctly remember a Metro Community College attorney invoking “the smell test.” He’d said, “If something smells like a fish, it probably is a fish.”

Fast-forwarding to 2020, what are some the elements that should be used to sniff out who is actually thinking and behaving as an “environmentalist” at the pipe tour?

For starters, I offer these:

  • An environmentalist acknowledges that “climate change” crossed the threshold to being a full-blown “climate crisis" in October 2018. No longer is “business as usual,” such as more oil pipelines, acceptable.

  • An environmentalist recognizes we need to wean ourselves away from fossil fuels ASAP. That also means keeping as much fossil fuel in the ground for as long as possible, not continuing the feeding frenzy of pumping, digging up more, etc.

  • An environmentalist recognizes “booms” have always been followed by “busts.” Therefore, environmentalists advocate for long-term sustainability rather than continued short-term resource exploitation of people and the planet.

  • An environmentalist clearly sees beyond alleged short-term “gain” of some jobs and taxes to the long-term pain caused by inevitable oil spills and literally adding fuel to the climate crisis.

  • An environmentalist favors ramping up alternative energy sources, not prolonging the fossil fuel era on “life support” decades into the future. If things aren’t changed quickly, the Earth may not have many decades left as we’ve known it.

  • An environmentalist is not easily bedazzled by rosy corporate promises from a company whose past track record has been far from stellar.

  • An environmentalist recognizes the centuries that Native Americans have been victimized. Will a last-minute, almost after-the-fact “tribal inclusion” by Enbridge begin to make amends or be the latest, sorry chapter?

“Enbridge” is a shortened form for “energy bridge.” It would be bad enough if it were “only” a bridge “to nowhere.” Subjecting the self-proclaimed “environmentalists” in the Jan. 25 article to the “smell test,” I’d say, “Smells fishy to me!”

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